Take a Step Back

Taking a step back from the monkey mind and stepping out of the cycle of struggle brings huge insight.

Image result for meme take a step back

This morning had me waking up before my alarm, in parallelled anxiety over my training.  I’ve strained my rib probably hard enough to go to the doctor to get an x-ray, but equally pointless because the treatment for any rib injury (break, strain, fracture, sprain) is the same: rest.

I strained my rib from blowing my nose too enthusiastically, apparently…my cold left me phlegmy, and my inability to sit with the discomfort of feeling like there’s a tiny pug napping while slowly sliding down the back of my throat had me blowing and blowing and blowing my nose.  So my back seized up after a strain I’m self-diagnosing from my over-active diaphragm.

The inability to sit with discomfort is a never ending cycle – until I choose to end it.  I challenged the phlegm, and I’m not challenging this rib pain now.  I ran and biked through it yesterday, and suffered.  Breathing hurts.  So this morning, I didn’t push through a swim, that wouldn’t be enjoyed, for zero training gains.

Allostatic Load of Stress:  This means that the cortisol I’d produce by stressing over the pain, paired with attempting to swim in a way to avoid the pain, would negate any training benefits I would gain from actually doing my training session in the pool.

So in taking a step back, in breaking the cycle of my mind’s compulsion of unhealthy habits with stress addiction, I was able to see the wisdom I had all along.  The wisdom inside myself got clouded by my mind games of:

  • not good enough
  • only good when ______
  • badge of honour with stress
  • stress addiction

Image result for meme take a step back

Breathing helped (shallow…bc #ribpaintingz), by honestly putting my hand on my heart and feeling what my body needed, not what habits I’d accustomed myself to through years of body dishonouring.

And where has that body dishonouring got me?

Injured.
Sick.
Miserable.
Stuck in a pattern.
NOT helping others because I WASN’T living “my truth” or the truth that I condone.

So, I ate breakfast, showered, went for a walk, visited my grampa.

Now, I’m sharing this insight, of the power in taking a step back to view the situation.  I’m meeting with a friend who’s helping me with my move out to British Columbia, and I’m speaking with a mentor from my Holistic Nutrition school in New Zealand, a fellow Canadian, and wicked smart woman Michelle Yandle of Michelle Yandle Nutrition for guidance as I continue on my journey as a Wellness Practitioner.  I’m so keen to help others through the insight I’ve gained with my own struggles, and what I’ve trained in.  I’m also looking for tools from other successful practitioners like Michelle, who’s helped many people not so much through the actual food aspect of Holistic Health, but the encompassing triggers and emotional baggage and meaning behind the food.  THAT is The Shit.

Have a sweet day,  I’m going to be present as fuck, because the monkey mind comes back with thought suggestions, but I’m going to watch them and choose from a space of wisdom with big picture intention tingz.

Also….I love this song:

Listen to yourself about what to eat

Source: Dr. Libby, Instagram


Paleo? 

Vegan?

Keto?

LCHF?

HCLF?

Gluten-free?

Slow-carb?

THIS is what I want to spread as a Holistic Nutritionist: less WHAT to eat, more quieting and tuning out in. Stop listening to outsiders about what to eat: when you were a kid, you knew what to eat to feel good. You had an inner impulse that was loud and clear and unhindered by confusion, stress, coping. 

Lets go there again. Ya!

This vid is well worth the watch👌🏻

How Nature Heals

Brene Brown explains in her book Rising Strong, that our brains like to find certainty in things over correct facts.  This is big.  This is why we easily fall back onto our default stories when we face conflict, or our default coping mechanisms when we face things we are not expecting.

We don’t like uncertainty.

So, I had a great interview for a beautiful retreat centre in Tofino this morning.  The Homestead has wicked values, holistic views of health, and after chatting with Cheryl, one of the owners who has phenomenal values as a nurse embodying easter and western philosophies of healing– I learned about a concept called Blue Mind.

Blue Mind: A mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peace, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. 

[https://experiencelife.com/article/blue-mind/]

It’s a concept about how the mind is effortlessly calmed when attention is engaged around water.  It’s not too dissimilar from the concept Shinrin Yoku (“forest bathing”/nature therapy) that I am head over heels in love and living.

The basics of this concept that The Homestead integrates into their program design, is that as the mind gets engaged in observing the flux of nature, it doesn’t draw on the grasping definity that often is initiated in busy city life (that Brene describes).  In the city, there’s maximum unpredictability; traffic, loud unnatural sounds, things we can’t control.  Although nature is similarly untamed, it has a certain level of ebb and flow that rubs on our psyche with predictability.

Waves come crashing and flow into flat water.
Clouds billow with the wind, patterning a sky with pillows for birds.

In a natural environment on or near water, there’s a high degree of predictability — unlike a busy street, a body of water is largely the same from moment to moment. The background we see is fairly controlled, which allows part of the brain to relax.

Against that consistent background, the brain continues to search for something that wasn’t there before, since the essence of survival is the correct interpretation of things that don’t fit in the landscape. When the brain notices a disturbance on the surface (like a wave or a water bird), there’s a sense of surprise and novelty, which is accompanied by a pleasurable hit of dopamine.

Because bodies of water change and stay the same simultaneously, we experience both soothing familiarity and stimulating novelty when we look at them. This is regularity without monotony, the perfect recipe for triggering a state of involuntary attention in which the brain’s default network — essential to creativity and problem solving — gets triggered. This dreamy state of involuntary attention is a key characteristic of Blue Mind.

[https://experiencelife.com/article/blue-mind/]

This is so cool.  This is why our bodies need nature, this is why I’d sit by a lake (most) any day over watching (even) Mitch Hedberg on youtube as relaxation.  I mean, there’s place and purpose for all things in life, so not to discount The Man by any means, but hey – if we’re at least 60+% water, why not sit by it and breathe for a bit instead of busying ourselves to over-engaging!

(and wish me luck for the job – oh it feels right)

Tools that helped me beat Bulimia

I’m resting today.  My ankle hurts.  I have a new private catering client, and I love this.  I love helping and sharing my food and living philosophy; that of self-love and kindness.  That of healing an unhappy gut, of facing feelings, of raw, real emotions, all of them.

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This morning, I pitter-patter in and out of the ego-rubbish dialogue with my inner wisdom.

“Rest is earned, food is earned…” I ate a great breakfast.  I hobbled to do laundry, I’m sitting at Reunion Island and blogging.  I can’t walk lots, and I’m looking gratefully at it.  Maybe this is the space I need to fill my website, to organize myself as a developing practitioner in holistic healing.  I want to be the change.  I had some wine last night, to calm my nerves, and passed out at 8pm.  I woke up at midnight hungry, so ate a snack.  Good stuff.

This morning, I’m sitting and craving an outlet, so I write.  I have an extra cup of coffee, and I breathe.  I am sharing what helped me beat Bulimia.  I am looking at the shit I’ve overcome, instead of where I still have to further my journey.  I am looking at my “full” vs my “lack”.  Maybe the universe will listen to this positivity, and like attracts like.  Oh how I see mountains.

Here’s some stuff (wanted to submit to Tiny Buddha, but submissions full….anyone know any platforms that would be good for sharing this story?)

Tools that helped me beat Bulimia:

 

Bulimia is a bitch. It’s a cycle of restriction, then “giving in” to a purge. I put that in quotations because it represents the voice of failure, of ‘lack’, of weakness.

Here’s how it manifested in my life.

I had all the prereq’s for it: perfectionist, two best friends who were dubbed “gifted” against who I was always comparing myself, an athletic body type throughout elementary school, controlling parents, and a terribly low self esteem paired with timidness.

So come High school, when my body started changing, and my sense of self remained vague, unhealthy friend-dynamics, a really bad first experience of sex, and strange attraction to assholes for male partners, I was ravenous for control. I was unhappy, confused, and seeking to be seen, heard, respected. I was involved in sports, and remember having the feeling of being idle when I had free time. In this time, I was unable to cope, I felt uneasy and turned to food to control. I remember using food in a fear-form. I remember the summers when Competitive swimming would take a break, and I felt so isolated and alone, and would fill my time eating “Oatmeal to go” bars and watching TV with my brother, while I imagined all my friends at overnight summer camp having so much fun. I had maaaaaad FOMO. So, when school came back around, and my weight was slow to catch up, my parents latched on to control. I was monitored for my weight and how much exercise I could do. That year was hell. Grade 10. I was struggling hard, and by the summer, I ended up being admitted into North York General’s eating disorder day program.

North York’s day hospital for Eating Disorder recovery was a 9am-5pm gig, meals monitored strictly, as was bathroom use. Group, individual, and family therapy consisted most of the day, along with shit like…knitting and other “non-movement” types of things. No sitting up straight at the table because that “burned too many calories”…I was struggling hard. I remember one day, crying so much that the nurses were actually hard pressed to get me to stop (having it been a good few hours) being concerned for my energy expenditure. Days of coping revolved around spiting the program, hating the food, fear, and extreme distain for control. Long story short, I ended up running away one day, to fight it on my own. [That sentence entails more than expressed, but for the sake of a shorter post, I’ll leave it there (and also to spare myself the pain of rehashing…).]

I spent that summer at my cottage with my grandma, and it was the best, most empowering summer of my life. I remember the focus not being on weight, although I did gain weight to a healthy weight, on my own. I guess I let my body be, I let it find where it needed to be. I was so happy that summer. There was freedom, a boy, a job, swimming, I also ran! I fell in love with running, then.

This was all before bulimia. I went back to high school in grade 11, and come grade 12, I had issues arise for self-esteem and stress over university. I was so adamant about not being controlled, that it grew to be insecurity-based. I returned in Grade 11 with a chip on my shoulder, no longer willing to be subordinate, no longer willing to be unseen, unheard; I felt like the pain I’d endured has “earned me” the right to deserve respect.

I went to university, and fell into the mainstream image-oriented stereotypical Western ideal. I went to University of Western Ontario, where long legs and blonde hair were revered. I nit-picked at myself hard. I worked out. I was known as the athlete in my residence.

Then, I fell into restriction. I would restrict, and I remember my first binge on my roommate’s Pringles. There was also the alluring residence caf, brimming with sugar-laden temptations, a candy-bar, and all available with the swipe of your pre-pair residence eatery card.

My first purge was in my dorm room, in a garbage bag, using the back of a toothbrush (Google said that’s how it was done)…While my roommate was at cheerleading practice. I followed it with a session at the gym, late at night.

This was the beginning of hell. It lasted from first year uni, to fourth year. Fourth year university, I went cold turkey. The last episode I ever had was Thanksgiving 2013, the day of my Grandma’s funeral. I stopped. I don’t know how exactly, but it was the same way I stopped using fake sugar (I was known to make a meal out of a tub of sugar-and -fat-free yogurt with 8 packets of TwinSugar and sugar free jam…with coffee whitener).

I lived in a house in year 2-3 uni of 7 girls. This was tough. I am now saying how much I felt like an outsider, I felt so wrong and bad all the time. I isolated myself. I lived in fear. I am sorry for the way my coping mechanisms took hold; for all the peanut butter I sneaked from my roommates, the cinnamon toast crunch, the dishonesty with them, with myself. The pain was horrendous.

Then I found Wayne Dyer and Timothy Ferriss: two things here were the beginning of the end of Bulimia:

  1. Self-love
  2. Slow-carb diet

One side-note: Tim Ferriss’s “Four-Hour Body” book, and the idea of one day a week having a “cheat-day” is NOT conducive to healing from an Eating Disorder…but you know what, his philosophy of real food was a big one for me in facilitating change.

So here are some ways that I healed:

  1. I left that house, I broke my foot running away from a peeping tom in my house at Western, and waved the white flag. I surrendered to taking 2 months off of school (to be finished online in BC that summer in my wicked stint out West—see you soon, mntn friends).
  2. I learned to commit to my meals. I stopped the idea of “only a snack”. This idea of “willpower” or lack there of, pitter-pattered out of my life. I trusted that I had to commit to meals. I had to fuel. A friend of mine, a fellow ED warrior actually implemented this idea to me. I remember her transformation to a fit and sculpted body, and I approached her one day at the gym to ask her how she did it. I was so sad in my body, and so unhappy in my binge-purge cycle. Her answer: “I finally started to eat!” THIS IS TRUE, FRIENDS!

My grazing idolization failed time and time again. I would think that I could “have a small snack” and it’d suffice me throughout the day. No. I implemented a meal plan of fuelling; imperatively around workouts (I was training as a triathlete here), as well as a proper breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

  1. I began saying affirmations and understanding from Wayne’s teachings (His book “Your Erroneous Zones” was huge for me in a catalyst for healing) that self-love came first, then the body would acclimatize to the happy set-point. I lived in such pain, my body was heavier, and I was so mean in my self-talk. I started being kinder to myself, and honestly, this is when I balanced out my weight.
  2. I grew into a healthier identity for myself after spending a summer at camp with mature adults, camp Towhee, a camp for kids with learning disabilities. Coming from superficial UWO-this was a breath of fresh air, with wholesome adults who were nurturing support for my soul. I distanced myself from people who made me feel like shit about myself, and learned that I no longer would tolerate my own self-talk in meanness, nor the talk from others with that hue of non-compassion.

 

Note: where I lacked was in healing the mind-aspect, the reason behind my coping through food. Once I regulated my needs for physical nourishment, I no longer had binge tendencies. But, I grew over-controlling with routine. I have yet to nourish my soul.

 

But, these are the ways I beat Bulimia, and I am very proud of this. Bulimia was a dark and painful experience. I am recovered from Bulimia (damn, that feels good to say)!

Free Example of a Daily Template

On Routine:

routine

The body likes routine.  I’m not referring to a totally calculated and pre-planned existence, but more-so a plan with relative regularity in scheduling certain daily patterns:

  • Eating times
  • Exercise times
  • Sleep/Wake-up times
  • Poop times

The body flows into a rhythm, a cadence, and a beat when we listen well to its needs, and fine-tune a schedule.  Believe it or not, this implementation of a plan is key to a myriad of health benefits like:

  • minimizing disease
  • skin issues
  • weight fluctuations
  • stress
  • headaches
  • chronic illness
  • fatigue
  • gut disturbances, and more.

Although a totally monotonous lifestyle is a recipe for lacklustre predictability, give or take a half hour of buffer space, eating times, exercise times, and sleep times are a good thing to routinize.

It takes some experimentation and individualization, because everyone is different, but ultimately, once a nice pattern is formed, and fine-tuned with love and attentive to moderation and deep intuition, I can say from first-hand experience that it transformed my life from a place of extreme self-harm, to utmost self-love, calm, self-awareness and peace.

As promised, here is an example of a daily template:

7:00AM Wake up
Say morning mantra and practice abdominal Pranayama breathing while still in bed
Brush teeth, wash face, use toilet

7:15AM
Morning walk, 10 mins

7:30AM
Prepare breakfast
Practice cultivating gratitude and focus on breath for 1 min
Eat meal in calm and peace, with no phone/technology/e-mail checking

9:00AM 60 swim minute Workout
WU

600 swim
10 x 50 as break-out/build @ 50s

MS 1
21 x 50 @ 50s as:
3x
1) break-out
2) 25!/25ez
3) 35!/15 ez
4) AO!
5) ascend
6) 25!/25ez
7) build

100 ez

4 x 150 @ 2:15 as: 25 scull/25 breathing-5/25 breathing-7/25 ALL OUT!/50K NB underwater on your side (25LS/25RS)

100 ez

10 x 75 as (100 ez after first 5)
first 5: breathing 3-5-7
last 5: breathing 7-5-3
ALL ODDS: ascending
ALL EVENS: descending

CD

300 ez
500 dr/sc/k/sw/pull

12:00PM
10 minute walk

12:15PM Lunch
Prepare lunch
Practice cultivating gratitude and focus on breath for 1 min
Eat meal in calm and peace, with no phone/technology/e-mail checking

4PM Snack
Prepare snack
Practice cultivating gratitude and focus on breath for 1 min
Eat meal in calm and peace, with no phone/technology/e-mail checking

6:00 PM
Evening walk, 10 mins

6:15PM
Prepare dinner
Practice cultivating gratitude and focus on breath for 1 min
Eat meal in calm and peace, with no phone/technology/e-mail checking

8PM
Small evening snack
Night time meditation, sitting and focusing on breath for 10 minutes, and reviewing the day

10PM Goodnight 

  • Notes:

    Try to eat only so much that you know you will be hungry in 3-4hours.
    Be aware of your self-duty in this process of finding your balanced state of being and mind.
    Be aware and accepting that this process might take some tweaking, patience is key.
    Re-assess, re-assess, and re-asses!
    Namasthe 🙂

Here’s a good song, have a sweet Thursday!  Stay tuned for a package to individualize a jump-start weekly program, and 30 day re-set including recipes, and applicable workouts.